English: Hanasaku Iroha ~Blossoms for Tomorrow~
Synonyms: Hana-Saku Iroha
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 3, 2011 to Sep 25, 2011
Producers: Bandai Visual, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, Lantis, P.A. Works, Pony Canyon, NIS America, Inc.L, Showgate
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.061 (scored by 29204 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Oct 23, 2011
I watched Hanasku Iroha with massive heaps of cautious optimism. The entire premise sounded a little worrying. It tells of a teenage girl, Ohana, who experiences a set of circumstances that would send her to live and work with her grandmother, who owns and manages a hot spring inn of a small town. A hot spring inn staffed by mostly teenage girls? With that setup, fanservice seemed to be primary driving force.
Watching the first few episodes, I was pleasantly surprised. The characters had depth and were likable. The stereotype of the doting grandmother never got played out, settling for the minor stereotype of the “tough love” grandmother instead. There were actual obstacles presented to the characters. The events of one episode held consequences over the next episode. And for some bizarre reason, the anime that least needed fantastic animation had some of the best animation of the season.
The central message of Hanasaku Iroha is one about purpose. Ohana is pulled out of her comfort zone and sent into an unknown town. Here, the insecurities of her life are magnified. Here, she suddenly is faced with the uncertainty of where she wants to go in life. Here, she is forced to grow up, just a little bit. However, she embraces her new life and tries to find her place as one of the waitresses of the inn. She begins to learn more about herself, her place in life, and her family. Her resolve to face these challenges serve bring about change in the staff of the inn. Each member of the staff are faced with a crossroads on where they see themselves heading. As the story progresses, there is legitimate growth in each character. In the end, even the status quo of the inn is changed as a result of this growth with Ohana’s grandmother closing the inn to allow the staff to pursue their own dreams.
One of the best points of the series is how well they understand their audience. Each point that needs to be made is clearly made without underestimating the audience’s ability to understand. They show character development and conflicts rather than telling us about it. Some of the best scenes have no words at all, something that can easily be afforded with the animation quality. As a result, the plot doesn’t get too caught up in its own complications. They focus in on a situation just enough to get us tied to the characters before attempting to tug at our heartstrings.
As captivating and dramatic as it is, Hanasaku Iroha has its drawbacks. Remember that fanservice I suspected a few paragraphs back? It’s certainly here. It never completely dominates the series, but it doesn’t add anything either. My stance of fanservice is a disapproving one. I’ve never felt that it’s truly necessary for the female characters to disrobe for whatever reason or to include all these bath scenes. At best, it’s an odd scene to inject into an otherwise good episode; at worst, it is the entire series. Thankfully, the episodes that do include fanservice use them with a decent amount of restraint. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t harm the series as a whole. It’s just a bit unnecessary.
The romantic dramas within the series are a whole mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the drama they added and how it complicated the situation at the inn at times. Yet, the infuriating pacing and lack of closure on some of the stories really got to me. I know that the focus is supposed to be on the characters themselves while the romance is used to contrast their growth throughout the show. Then again, with the possible announcement of a second season, there should be plenty of time to flesh out those side stories in addition to showing us what the staff is up to now.
Hanasaku Iroha has reaffirmed my belief in slice of life series. It’s raised the bar for what will pass as entertaining and engaging and hopefully, it’ll continue to do so in its possible second season. I’m still going to approach these shows with cautious optimism, though. There’s just too much crap out there sometimes. read more
Oct 20, 2011
There's an age old belief that certain traits are passed down from parents to children, and like most ancient convictions, there's an element of truth to this one. It's a well known fact that much of a person's future behaviour is learned during their formative years, and while it's true that children will instinctively copy the mannerisms and behaviours of the role models closest to them (which in most cases means their parents), even trained professionals and researchers can't fully explain the "inheritance" of less tangible traits like stubbornness, temper, perspicacity, etc.
But what does all that have to do with a show about a girl who goes off to work at a hotsprings inn? Well, not enough to be honest, and that's biggest problem.
Hanasaku Iroha (The ABC's of Blooming), is an original anime from P.A. Works that tells the story of Matsumae Ohana, a 16 highschool student who, due to a variety of circumstances regarding her mother, is forced to move away from Tokyo to live with her estranged maternal grandmother, Shijima Sui, at the hotsprings inn that she owns. Knowing that she has no choice in the matter Ohana tries to make the best of her situation, and at the request of her grandmother she begins working at Kissui Inn.
It all sounds like a fairly straightforward set up for some teenaged melodrama, and for the most part that's what viewers will get. The plot is functional, but the anime can often have difficulty getting to the point or sticking to the storyline, and there's little in the way of originality where the narrative is concerned. In addition to this there appears to be no real direction or cohesiveness with the progression of the series, and these factors may cause viewers to wonder when the story will offer up some actual development.
That said, there's a surprisingly interesting subtextual thread that runs through the plot (which we'll cover in a bit), but because of the numerous issues with the main storyline it's often overlooked. The sad part is that Hanasaku Iroha would have had a much, much better storyline if Okada Mari had simply removed certain events from the screenplay and tightened up the narrative.
Thankfully, some thought seems to have gone into the visuals.
P.A. Works deserve some applause for the effort they've made in producing Hanasaku Iroha as it's easily one of the better looking anime of 2011. The artwork tends towards realism rather than the cartoonish offerings of several titles I could mention, and while this allows for some rather picturesque backgrounds and settings, there are numerous occasions where the usage of various lighting effects create some truly stunning imagery. The animation is fluid, and unlike many other shows of this type, there's a surprising range of movement for both people and animals.
The characters are an interesting mix of styles and shapes that can sometimes appear a little plain, but in actuality there's a method to their design that may not be obvious at first glance. The thing to bear in mind is that the story takes place at a working hotsprings inn, and because of that Sekiguchi Kanami has tried to create a contrast with the picturesque surroundings.
One of the notable aspects of Hanasaku Iroha is the background music, or rather, the lack of it. There's a nice variety of styles on offer ranging from pastoral pieces (which in some cases sound a bit like elevator music), to upbeat little ditties, but it's the lack of musical accompaniment in many scenes that fits very well with the often quiet tone of the series.
Which is why the number of tracks used for the opening and ending themes seem ... a little too much.
Like many 26 episode anime, Hanasaku Iroha features two main opening and ending songs that change over at the midway point of the series. The show begins with a surprisingly well put together sequence that introduces the more prominent characters, but the track used for this, "Hana no Iro" by Nano Ripe, is a fairly bland piece that only works because of some good audio/visual choreography. In contrast to this closing sequence is a simple montage of Ohana and her three friends that has been set to "Hazy" by Sphere. From episode fourteen the opening track changes to "Omokage Warp" by Nano Ripe (again), which is a far more upbeat song than the previous one, and while the animated sequence is different to that of the first OP, the quality and content are pretty similar. The closing song, "Hanasaku Iroha" by Clammbon, is a feelgood ballad set to an animated image of Ohana and her friends, but unlike the other sequences it doesn't seem like much effort has been put into this one.
There are also two more ending themes, "Tsukikage to Buranko" (episode 6), and "Yumeji" (episode 8), once again performed by Nano Ripe, but there doesn't actually seem to be any real reason for their inclusion so one has to wonder why they were used in the first place.
Given the fact that this is a highschool drama, one might expect a degree of overemphasis when it comes to the acting, but there's surprisingly little of this in the dialogue. The script is well balanced between each of the roles, and while there are occasions where the seiyuu "fest it up", in general the voice actors deliver some very good performances. In addition to this there's a surprising, yet clear demarcation between the adult and teenage roles that is apparent not just in the manner of speech, but also in the language used.
One of the problems with the lack of direction and cohesiveness in the storyline is that it has a direct impact on the prominent characters, and this is the main reason why some viewers consider Ohana to be a very lacklustre lead role. Unfortunately, there's little in the dialogue that can actually raise her above average, and while there are clear efforts made to develop her character, these can often seem contrived or unnecessary.
That said, it's the supporting characters who really steal the show.
From Ohana's mother, Matsumae Satsuki, to Kawajiri Takako, the business consultant for Kissui Inn, the adult roles are defined from the start of the series, and this makes a nice contrast to the somewhat vague characterisation of Minko, Nako and Yuina (Ohana's friends). The series also makes the effort to further develop several of the supporting roles, and because of this the subtextual thread in the plot comes to light.
On the surface Hanasaku Iroha is nothing more than another teenaged melodrama, but underneath it's also a story about family and role models, and that aspect of the series is far more intriguing than much of the exisitng plot. The relationship between Sui, Satsuki and Enishi forms the cornerstone of everything that happens at Kissui Inn, and unlike many other anime out there the series handles the dynamics of this in a very realistic manner. Thanks to the efforts made to highlight how each person affects the other two, several minor but key clarifications of the storyline become apparent, the most notable being the reasons for the estrangement between Satsuki and her mother, Enishi's desperate attempts to win his mother's approval and finally step out of the shadow of his sister, and Ohana's festival wish at the end of the series.
Hanasaku Iroha isn't as good as it could have been, but that doesn't make it bad. If one is able to tolerate the tangents in the storyline then it really is a pretty decent show at its core, and it's a fairly good depiction of working life in a hotel. That said, at 26 episodes this series really is far too long, and it can often feel like certain events or situations were added only to fill the required number of episodes. Unfortunately the detrimental effect this has on the character interactions may lead to some viewers giving up on the show entirely,
The sad part is that if the series had been trimmed down and the subtextual plot given more prominence, this could easily have been a contender for the best anime of 2011, but as it is right now it's nothing more than another show that joins the ranks of "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda". read more
Mar 24, 2012
Sep 27, 2011
Hanasaku Iroha is a 26 episode s'life drama about a bunch of teenage girls with incredibly poor listening abilities working in an inn as waitresses while trying to overcome their crippling urge to yell at everything that they don't immediately understand. Well, OK. This is a touch unfair. It's only Ohana and Minko who do this, Minko doing the yelling of the angry variety while Ohana covers the obscenely unaware side of the yelling spectrum, but most of the show is focused on these two. The thing with Hanasaku Iroha is that, asides from the drama side of things, it's hard to find any faults. The humour is surprisingly clever and never doubts your intelligence by pointing out the jokes for you. The animation is incredibly pretty. The characters are well rounded individuals who almost never fall into stereotype. It's just it's most interested in being a drama and that is precisely the area it fails at.
For now though, I feel like talking about the positive, specifically the one area I will throw myself to the floor in gratitude for: The humour. HanaIro isn't primarily a comedy, so don't go expecting to be struggling for breath through fits of giggles, but what jokes it does have, it never feels the need to have someone point them out for you. It recognises that you, the viewer, are an intelligent person (a rather dangerous assumption to make on behalf of the general population, it has to be said, but treat someone like they're a doofus and they'll start acting like one, self-fulfilling prophecies and all that) and recognise the humour behind Ohana constantly running away from the Heron when it blocks her path. We do not require a second character asking her why she ran away. We can see the Heron with it's freaky little beady eyes and shockingly large wingspan and fully understand why Ohana has decided to take the alternate path to prevent confronting the beast.
Hanasaku Iroha assume you're intelligent enough to notice this sort of stuff in other areas too, such as symbolism. Using our friend the Heron again, there is a scene in the final episode where Ohana is confronted by the Beast again but, instead of running away like she normally does, she marches on by it. It's a symbol that she has finally gained up the courage to focus on her problems and not run around them like she usually does. Simple, but it does this without feeling the need to monologue why this scene is important. Also fanservice. It's nice to have a series where I can ogle attractive female anime characters without insulting my intelligence by hovering the camera over their underwear in case we were too busy scratching our arses to notice (apart from this one lingering shot of a wet t-shirt in episode 3, but that episode was generally retarded so we can forget about that).
I also liked how there were little stories revolving around the minor characters in the show. Any personal conflicts that I enjoyed watching with characters tended to be any of the characters that weren't teenage girls because they were the conflicts that were treated with a sense of humour about them (and didn't yell all the fucking time). Some of them are incredibly simple, such as the head chef's Ren and his desire to become more confident. Once they had established that he gets nervous very easily, it was a reoccurring joke that he would try to man up, such as buying Yakuza jackets with a proud look on his face. Or the Beanman, the old codger who appeared in the background every now and then, who seemingly was the only person who knew how the inn worked. Personally, I'm convinced that he could make the inn sprout legs and move to a more tourist friendly area, like Howls Moving Castle, piloting the building from inside the boiler room.
I can't go talking about the characters without mentioning Ohana's mum. MILF to end all MILF's. Absolute star of the show, particularly impressive when she only appeared for episodes 1, 12-14 and 24-26. It was only when she was around that the drama started to actually click because she had a sense of bloody humour about her own insecurities and flaws. Best scenes of the anime were Ohana's mum drinks alcohol with Ohana's granny and Ohana. Or how about Ohana's mum pretends she's going to watch porn with Ko, Ohana's bland boyfriend. Underneath the story about Ohana's growth and the growth of the other teenage girls, there's a story about her making up with her family and becoming a (slightly) more responsible parent. There's never anyone going "LOOK GUIZ, SHE'S A BETTER PARENT NAOW" because we can spot that for ourselves.
I should also give some lipservice to the animation. For all their other faults, P.A. Works always have incredibly good animation and artwork. It's more of the shiny variety than the free-flowing movement of the works from Bones or KyoAni, but don't mistake this for an inability to animate movement. I found myself wondering this after a few episodes, whether I was simply being suckered in to thinking the animation was good simply because of scenery porn and attractive shiny female character designs. But no, the actual animated movement is gorgeous too. Hair moves when the characters shake their heads about. Clothes crease and fold when they move their hands. It sounds like a weird thing to focus on, but often having shiny pretty character designs hides the fact the characters are completely static, so bravo to HanaIro for that.
But the drama. Christ above, the bloody drama. I know teenage girls are stupid and refuse to listen to each other and get into the most irritating fights, so I guess I should congratulate them on accurately depicting typical teenage girls, but it does not make fascinating viewing. Minko deserves a mention here. She also deserves a kick in the stomach and a boot to the face and various other forms of pain. Every single damn time there's something to talk about, she gets angry and yells at everyone. I thought maybe her anger with Ohana and crush on Tohru would be a short lived thing, but it ran throughout the entire show, getting more screentime than any other plot point. Ohana isn't much better, being so braindead that she barges into every situation thinking talking really loudly and being energetic will get her through. You might be forgiven for thinking Nako is better because she's so quiet, but don't let that fool you. She solves any problems she encounters by quiet yelling, spouting off single phrases without listening to what other characters are saying. None of them bloody listen to each other or what anyone else is saying, making any dramatic confrontation lead nowhere because there's no logical process in the dialogue.
Plus there's the fact that what they're arguing about isn't in the slightest bit interesting. Now this may be a personal thing, since I struggle to get into melodramatic anime involving minor human problems, but did you really ever care about the future of the Kissiuso Inn? Like, really? I didn't, yet they spent hours arguing over the future of the bloody place. This really dragged down in the final bunch of episodes, because that became the main talking point. I liked the characters internal conflicts with their own faults, but there seemed to be a disconnect between their own internal faults and what the issues on the outside were. This drama is pretty much my only fault with the show, but it unfortunately happens to be the central focus, so it really dragged down my enjoyment as a whole. Again though, this could be just me. If you're the kind of easily emotionally manipulated loser who thinks Ano Hana is one of the best shows of the year, then maybe you too will like the drama in HanaIro.
I didn't like the core of Hanasaku Iroha. The drama that was like a giant gaudy painting of a fat poodle in the showroom that was meant to be the living room's centrepiece. But I liked all the décor surrounding it. I liked the picturesque potted plants of the attractive animation and character designs. I liked the stylish coffee table of the clever humour. I liked the comfy leather sofa of Ohana's mum...err, don't think too hard about that final metaphor. Anyway, I liked enough of the various aspects of Hanasaku Iroha to get me passed the dull drama and enjoy the show as a whole. read more
Jun 13, 2011
The Art is simply beautiful and the animation is definitely good for a TV series. At no point is any of the character art off model or deformed even for distant shots. Generic background people tend to be done in the crappy 3d which has become popular in most animes, however the models are properly textured to blend with the environment and main characters, though their walk animations feel a little off. This is of course only a small problem since most of the show takes place where there are few people thus even the background people are fully animated in 2d. The colours are vibrant and really enhance the feeling of the environment. There are background shots through out the series so far which are simply stunning.
Most scenes don't have any background music at all in this show. Save for some comedic tunes the music is saved for only the scenes that need them. When those scenes come around the music beautifully compliments the art and the animation, and gently tug at your emotions. The Opening theme is sung very well by the artist and the lyrics match Ohana's attitude and state of mind very well. The ending theme is a soothing piece which has a sort of "It's been a good run..." type of feel to it. Episode 11's ending was changed to match the feeling of the show at that point int he story.
It is impossible for me to talk about the story and characters separately as this show is entirely character driven. Not a single element in this show happens "because that's the way we we wanted it to go." Everything follows smoothly as if each character was living and properly acting and reacting to the environment. The only thing even mildly questionable is Ohana's death grip on what she thinks is right. Character development for some of the minor characters feel rushed for a 26 episode show, however I'm willing to let that slide as it was probably to make way for Ohana's story and there looks to be further development with those characters later on. Her own development of course is really well written and her relationship with other characters very well scripted. I'd say these characters are definitely on the deep end of the character depth pool, Ko being the exception. (For now) i can sum him up in 2 words; devoted and supportive, but as of episode 10 i am expecting lots of development in his character and his relationship with the heroine of this show. By comparison Mr. Yagami is at the shallow end with shows like Naruto and Bleach's characters in the kiddy pool
Over all at episode 11 I feel this is definitely a great show, and absolutely without a doubt would recommend this show to anyone who's looking for a show with some good characters that they can seriously feel and believe. read more
Sep 28, 2011
The story can be summarized as a group of cute girls working in an inn doing a bunch of things that normally wouldn't be interesting in real life. However this is Anime, so something like wiping the floor becomes extraordinary exciting all of a sudden and there are plenty more real life boring activities the show will make it incredibly exciting.
The other component of Hanasucku 's story are the romantic dramas. There are romantic dramas that are fun to watch, but if you have seen any romance Anime, you can figure out pretty much figure out who will end up with who.
By midway, Hanasaku's almost episodic nature becomes more and more boring and it didn't feel like any of the arcs were going anywhere (other than the romance ones). Watching a cute girl washing dishes while ogling at her man or cleaning the windows early morning no longer excites the viewers. Fortunately the pace picks up near the end with all the inn drama; still, the drama was a bit cheap (not to mention forced to create a plot) in my opinion.
Now let's talk about the characters
The characters were all unfortunately either recycled characters from some other show or just plain old archetypes.
Ohana - typical pretty peacemaker, needs to get into everyone's ways until everyone is happy.
Minchi - violent tsundere, but cute
Nakochi - timid miss perfect.
There is this other girl named Yuina, but I don't think she could even write her name properly, so she does not deserve a mention (oh wait...)
The surrounding visuals is very well done, the character designs are okay. The first opening song really fits the show, but the second opening is terrible. I also liked Michi's VA, it expresses her character well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this Anime because I watched one episode per week. Had this been an Anime that was already completed, I do not think I would even pick this up.
Hanasaku isn't a waste of time, but not worth watching either.
Sep 25, 2011
I don't think I could have found a more suitable quote for this anime. Hanasaku Iroha is an anime that takes a break from the supernatural anime and takes a more realistic approach: one that depicts what, when, and how to let go.
The story of a 16 year old girl being sent to work at a hotel may not seem very realistic but the events that happen because of it actually do. Leaving a best friend and a hometown is tough and very difficult to let go. Ohana experiences this tough change in life and begins to find a home in the hotel she works at, Kissuiso. Accompanied by her co-workers, she blooms into a more independent girl who shoulders the responsibilities of work, love, friendship, family and balance. The story may seem a little dull but it's fair to say that it's original and a great break from all of those harem anime with alien women or slice-of-life school girl comedies you've been watching.
The drama genre in my opinion should be before comedy. Looking back, I found more drama moments than comedy but that's certainly not a bad thing. Love triangles, family relationships, and the state of Kissuiso make up the drama and while the drama wasn't all too flashy but it certainly satisfied that realistc approach. While there isn't an overwhelming supply of comedic moments, the ones there are mildly entertaining. It's not split-your-gut funny but you may find a good chuckle here and there. Some may feel that it distracts from the drama but I didn't see it that way at all.
I usually don't talk about art much but I feel that not talking about Hanasaku Iroha's art is an insult. The backgrounds were stunning. The shading, the scenery, and the animation were simply beautiful and pleasing to look at. There was clearly a lot of effort in making the scenery and I must say the art was one of HanaIro's strong points. I've seen a blog about the sites in Japan that they based off of and everything looked realistic. The character designs had a good balance and were adequately implemented in the backgrounds. Some characters look like they fit with the backdrop, like Enishi and Sui, and others fed off the anime/manga art style, looking pasted on compared to the psuedo-3D scenery, like Ohana and Yuina.
Since this is a standard 26 episode season there is plenty of time for character development. In many anime lots of the supporting characters don't have enough screen time to grow on the audience. Sadly, HanaIro falls into that category. Even though this story is centered around Ohana Matsumae, I feel that the OTHER main characters were neglected enough to the point that they felt almost like supporting roles. Nako and Minko had a few episodes early on in the season dedicated to them, but after that they slowly faded into 2 minute segments. The other supporting roles shared a similar fate. Ultimately I felt like the different character arcs were pasted on.
HanaIro has an assorted mix of character types. We have the general slice-of-life archetypes like the cold tsundere, Minko Tsurugi, and a more original wise old woman, Sui Shijima. The cast has a vast array of personalities which outweigh the general character types by a long shot. I haven't seen an anime with this diverse of character types in a long time. You'll have to see it for yourself to see how unique each character is. However, the characters aren't favorite material. Sure, they're very original but they don't have enough pizazz to make them stand out from other anime characters.
All of the events in HanaIro have excellent background music. Many people don't notice it or forget about it, but this one in particular had stellar tracks. The OST complemented the story segments very well. None of it sounded too extreme or too toned down for the situation. The EDs were very fitting and presented a calm, cleansing feel to end the episode. The OPs, on the other hand, may make you want to skip ahead to 1:30. The voices of nano.RIPE are unusually screechy and might not be the most pleasant to listen to. I loved the OPs, but I find an equal amount of fans and haters of it.
The love aspect of the anime constantly pops up but never seems to satisfy completely . I felt like the love triangle characters were progressing very well in the episode right until the end where it ends in a cliffhanger that shortly continues in the next episode only to be brushed aside and finished with a void. Many have ranted at the romance for many different reasons such as the pairings, development, and execution. However, I think HanaIro's romance did its best to accommodate the realistic side of the anime. Each character that participates in the romance think deep about love and take the outcomes of their actions into extreme consideration. It's not just "I love so-and-so so I must do my best to confess my love and make them love me as well so we can be happy together!," it's "I love so-and-so but if I really confessed my love would we truly be happy?"
Aside from the romance, HanaIro does great as a slice-of-life. It's not your usual school girls' comedy; it's a dramatic comedy that touches upon real life problems. HanaIro has the most story progression in any slice-of-life I've ever seen. Every character runs into the simple theme of "letting go and holding on" in their own way. During the hardships and testing decisions, the cast unfolds together as a family which gives HanaIro such charm. The rest of moments in the anime seemed awkwardly organized. It seemed like HanaIro was trying its best to hit all of the anime standards, like beach episodes. In trying to do so, HanaIro loops into a useless arc that ultimately had no purpose. Also, the latter half of the anime seemed to drag and it felt like it was trying to create more story that had no use.
Ignoring all the nitpicking, HanaIro stands firm as a slice-of-life. Since most slice-of-life have little to no story I can easliy cut this anime some slack at attempting and mainly succeeding one. Hanasaku Iroha isn't a top priority watch, but watching it isn't something you'd regret. read more
Oct 19, 2011
I have to say that this is probably one of my top favorite slice-of-life animes, and it truly shows a clear development of personality and maturity throughout the series. It's very realistic (well, excluding the fact not a lot of people work in a traditional inn with these certain people) in a sense that the moral is learning to love your work, and through hard work will come progress in many different mediums.
Although I can't really relate all too much to Ohana, I can relate that I really wish to "fest" up my youth before it's gone. Even through working she finds pleasure and makes the best o fit. It really helps inspire me personally to excell in all the things I try to strive for, and that there's a big possibility of it all paying off at the end.
I thought the character development and the way things flowed worked well. A LOT if not, most of the characters in this series got their own spotlight in the anime; and I thought they did a great job at highlighting each and every character and a little backstory to them. (Although, I wouldn't have minded a little more backstory on Bean-Man. He was probably one of my favorite characters)
The music in this anime fit in very well, and I found myself loving each and every backround track that started playing during certain scenes. It flowed together well to invoke certain emotions the scene wished to illustrate. Despite this, I'm not really a big fan of the OP since I'm not really into the whole "screechy girl-band" thing.
Overall, another great series to add on my list of top slice-of-lifes. I truly suggest this anime as a to-watch. read more
Sep 25, 2011
The story begins with the main character Ohana being forced by her mother to move in with her Grandmother who happens to be the very strict owner of a hot spring inn. Being forced to work for room and board, Ohana decides to do everything she can to make the most of her life.
The series really started out quite wonderfully as a very promising coming of age story. It had top notch visuals and had a compelling enough premise to get behind our main character Ohana as she tries to "fest it up." The problem is that this show had an odd balance between trying to be a drama that could be taken seriously, and a story that often disgraced its cast in favor of some not so great comedy. This would surface as soon as episode 3 in the show where all of a sudden the show is injected with odd fanservice and the cast is beaten with a stupid stick.
I do not have a problem with trying to have comedy in this show, but in a story that tires to take itself seriously it should never come at the expense of each character's dignity. One of the best representatives of this in the series is the character Minko, who is supposed to be a very moody, but beautiful girl with a one tracked mind of fulfilling her quest to become a chef. Unfortunately, her mannerisms and actions often lacked grace and style, so she often just came off as an unnecessarily angry and unlikable person. The balance of her character definitely became better as the show went along, but the handling of her character was pretty poor and led to several awkwardly bad moments in the series.
Still though these problems usually came at the expense of the male cast rather than the female cast, which made Minko look good by comparison amazingly enough. Throughout the show this anime had a penchant for showcasing males to be far more incompetent at everything they do compared to their female peers. Ohana's uncle Enishi is always shown to be an incompetent fool who could never compare in ability to his mother or his sister when it came to running the inn Kissuiso. The cook Tohru is first shown to be a serious chef, but then is often displayed as an insensitive, bumbling fool. Ohana's romantic interest in this show, Kou apparently only ever knew the method of inaction in his one sided romantic relation and preceded to waltz around in melancholy the whole time.
As far as the female cast went, Ohana's character was the shining star of the entire show, and I would be hard pressed to find someone who actually dislikes her character. Her little phrases like "fest it up," or "sparkling" would become trademark aspects of her character that both the cast and audience would come to love her for. A character once said in the show that the "Kissuiso is fun because she's there" and I could not agree more. Without her character, I doubt this show would have ever worked at all. She was a bullheaded girl who often charged into a chaotic world. She would constantly butt into people's problems and try to fix everything up. The cast would label her as inconsiderate for doing so, but this inconsideration is precisely what made her character so likable.
Much like some of the characters, the plot often was handled very awkwardly. The main plot threads consist mostly of Ohana's romantic troubles with Kou as she moved from Tokyo, Ohana finding a place for herself in this new life of hers as she learns to appreciate her work, and the impending crisis that is the Inn's future, both financially and in leadership. This was all clear at least by the very end, but it often got side tracked.
Several of the arcs throughout the show seemed to be pointing in different directions altogether. Worst of them all was the ones involving Enishi. Several times we are led to believe that he would take leadership of the Inn, and truly lead it in a good direction only to find out that he is incompetent and incapable of doing so. Many times in the show we are shown Ohana making progress in her new life in certain arcs, but then it flips around and paints her as a distressed person who does not know quite what she wants to do coupled with huge self-esteem issues.
These are but two examples of the sort of backpedaling and moving forward at the same time that this show constantly treads, which really does become tiresome as it goes on. It is hard to know what the anime is quite trying to show us or tell us. Sometimes it hamfists certain messages through that are very disagreeable, and other times does not capitalize enough on the good things it's trying to tell. Despite this of course, the main message of this show always was learning to love your work, and that is something I think anyone can get behind.
In considering the production values of this show I must say the visuals were very good as always for a PA works show, but not perfect. I did not absolutely love the character designs, but they were not bad. The audio side of this show on the other hand had lots of issues. Too often there was a complete absence of a BGM track to set the mood and pace of this show properly. The few tracks they did have were quite forgettable.There is nothing wrong with utilizing the magic of silence in a show, but it needs to be used properly, something this show definitely did not do.
Despite my tone, this anime was not all bad, and I definitely found entertainment throughout it even if at times for the wrong reasons.. The anime's best moments were definitely at the start, the very middle, and towards the end. There were enough highs in this series for me to look upon it sort of fondly. It was indeed a unique experience, precisely because it was such an infuriating mesh of love and hatred.
I can justify this anime as a passable "good" watch, but nothing more. It was much too flawed and mishandled for me to consider it anything more. It started beautifully and ended beautifully as a series I must say, but there were many problems between the beginning and end points to drive me more than a little crazy. This leads me to believe that this show should have been 1 cour, but alas PA works seems like they have some issues on reigning in their productions properly as this is not the first example of an anime with tons of potential just not doing enough with it. I definitely would not say this anime is a waste of one's time, but it also is not something that I would jump to recommend to most people. read more
Jan 5, 2012
After watching the first two episodes of the show, I was almost sure that this would be one of the best shows of the year. However, immediately after that the show delivers what are without a doubt the worst few episodes of the entire series, taking what promised to be a great show and turning it into a show about annoying teenage antics. This is without a doubt the worst part of this show, is that these episodes are really a pain to get through, as they are not very funny and don't have the interesting drama that the rest of the show does. The good thing, however, is that after a few of these episodes the show transitions back to its roots and again focuses on the characters.
Which brings me to one of the strengths of the series: the characters. Now, the characters do take some getting used to, seeing as they are teenage girls. Specifically Minko, who is just overly angry, and Yuina, who seems to have no real purpose in the show for the longest time. However, even though they are annoying, there is actually some great character development throughout the course of the show. On top of that, Ohana is actually a great lead character, mainly because she is so far away from the average teenage girl tropes. She is loud and abrasive, but in a way it is very unique for an anime character, while at the same time portrayed very believably. Another good point about the show is that it doesn't only focus on teenage girls, which admittedly would get pretty annoying. Ohana's mother and grandmother also prove to be wonderful characters, and there is also realistic and interesting drama revolving around the rest of the adult cast. In the end, the cast really does come together for a great ending to the show, and even though some of them have their annoying attributes they still play off each other well through the entire show.
Another one of the shows strengths is the artwork. The character designs are all very good and consistently drawn. However, the best part about the artwork is the background art. The backgrounds show are beautifully drawn and greatly show the stark contrasts between the city and the countryside. Both of these areas are drawn wonderfully and offer tons of eye candy for the viewer. Almost every episode has at least 1 background to marvel at.
Perhaps my favorite part of the show was the themes it dealt with. At its core, this show is about working, specifically taking pride in ones work. Though this show has its share of romance and comedy; in the end this is the main point of the series. This is an extremely unique theme for an anime to deal with and it is portrayed wonderfully. Usually in anime and media in general, work is portrayed as the thing that is hard to enjoy, or being what keeps somebody away from their family. However, Hanasaku Iroha shows that hard work can bring people together, exactly like the cast does here. The show never lapses into pointless rambling about work and never gets corny or preachy like you see with other shows with a central theme.
All in all, I highly recommend Hanasaku Iroha. Though there are certain episodes that are hard to get through, in the end it is all worth it, and the longer arcs in the show truly do have some interesting drama and character development. And of course, the art is just breathtaking at times, further increasing the experience. read more
Mar 22, 2012
May 21, 2012
Story - 8/10
There was not much of a complete, general conflict as a whole. Hanasaku Iroha follows a naive yet energetic girl named Ohana as her setting changes drastically. Series of conflicts arise, but by her just being her, everything turns out okay.
Art - 10/10
Characters are drawn without flaw, outfits are accurate, but most of all the scenery is very pleasing to the eyes, along with fitting ambient and environmental sound. It made me feel like I was there.
Sound - 9/10
Superb voice acting, sound effects were top notch, the only problem I had was a bit of the music. The vocalist isn't my personal cup of tea, but fit in well.
Character - 10/10
The character development in Hanasaku Iroha is what makes the anime so amazing. Each character is special and has many different aspects to their personality. Some you'll love, some you'll love to hate, but either way, they make this anime that much better.
Enjoyment - 10/10
I had to finish this anime in one go. I didn't know what to expect at first, but I regret nothing. So many life lessons to learn from Hanasaku Iroha. Through all the happy, sad, angry, touching, and exciting moments, I enjoyed every bit of it.
Loved it. I wish I hadn't watched it so I can watch it again for the first time. Hanasaku Iroha is not your average slice of life anime at all. This has everything you'd look for in a slice of life anime: romance, suspense, drama, happiness, sadness, nostalgia, friendship. But most of all, it gets you thinking "Bon boru-yo!" Fest it up, get out there and be alive! read more
Jul 28, 2011
Then all the other characters stay 2-D throughout.
So even though I did try hard to like this series, I don't think I'll be continuing it anymore.
Plus, now I can't even stand the opening song after they changed it. read more
Apr 16, 2011
*UPDATED* 12 episodes watched
I hope you get a good idea what this is about, since it's a really unique and exiting series I can tell is worth watching!
"Do never rely on others" was the words Ohana Matsumae have lived by since she was a small child. As her live took a turn and she started working, she realises this does not work.
Ohana has lived with her mother all her life and her mother is carefree and selfish. Ohana learned by her mother by words and self-experience that relying others never works. At least for Ohana at this time, she always ended up getting hurt. But when her mother sends her away to her Grandma's Inn to live. She is forced to work to earn her living and learns that you must rely on others since you can't do everything by yourself.
Watching 12 episodes, Ohana meets more and more complicated situations and often tries to improve and fix these by herself when others does not act. But when she tries, she eventually fails at some point until her friends come and help her up always saying "Why did you do it on your own?". Story shows great love and great co-operative work and shows it well.
This is seriously the one of the best if not THE best art I've seen! The art is very much detailed and beautiful. Even the backgrounds are in great detail, and no wasted efforts.
The characters are beautiful and unique, I especially like Ohana's sweet and innocent but strong living look and it fits so well in to the series.
Whereever you look you see fine detail on all objects thru the entire series so far. It's amazing how much time they've spent on the art. Well worth the 10!
The opening theme is great, but not really remember-able. It's the usual you could say. Mainstream. But I guess you will (Atleast I will) recognise the song if you watch the opening every episode.
The voice actor Itou Kanae does the voice for Ohana! She is a very good voice actor and performs exceptional well here. She has voiced other great series for the main character like Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Sora no Manimani, Shugo Chara!, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (The world god only knows)
The background music is very well done. But here aswell, Mainstream. It's nothing wrong with it, since it does give a very good experience, but as said for opening, nothing you will remember probably.
This is superb! Ohana Matsumae is a clear 10 in my perspective.
At first she seems to be a normal girl with a very cute face (and the voice acting is so good and fits so well makes it even cuter) but as you watch and get to the turning point, she reveals many more sides and I actually need to watch a few more episodes before I can fully explain how she is as person.
She is hard-working and determined when she want to prove she can perform well. She has a good heart and does not want to anyone take the blame for her mistakes. She does not give up, and she puts a lot of effort in to her objectives.
And one thing that keeps her going is the fact her Grandma is strict and old fashion. Her saying is "A careless effort does nothing but harm", and clearly, Ohana does not want to harm anyone and wants to prove her efforts are not careless.
The other characters that works at the inn are very special and have their roles and personalties. Much is focused around the protagonist here, but all supporting char are VERY well done and no wasted effort.
As this series is about efforts, it's only natural that this would be good.
12 epsiodes in, more have been shown for teh supportive characters, not only Ohana and Ko-chan have lovey dovey feelings, but there is a side story going on with another romance. And secrets are being revealed with many of the side characters that just improve the story. It's very entertaining.
So far. I enjoyed this a lot and cant wait until the next episode. And this is probably going to be the best Anime for this season or close to it.
You will feel attachment to Ohana, I've never seen a similar character and cannot think of any other character from a different series that is similar.
We all have our tastes but this is a Seinen Series and the majority of people will probably like this.
My Enjoyment now is 10. This is superb series and I just totally love Ohana.
It's not a 10, even though I feel like giving it one. But well worth a 9.
I can tell this is ABSOLUTELY worth watching. If you don't like this, then you just don't. But I doubt any would dislike it.
It has a great heart to it, and much we can learn to put in our own lives.
It's well made, its beautiful, it's unique in almost all aspects, I've seen 2 episodes, and going crazy. Episodes are released Sundays, so don't miss out.
Sep 27, 2011
Hanasaku Iroha is a quintessential coming of age story that follows Ohana Matsumae, a self-centered girl sent to live with her grandmother after her ne’er-do-well mother Satsuki skips town with a man she hardly knows. Ohana heads off with lofty goals of living life like a storybook, a jaunty tune in her heart, and has the reality of staying at an inn crash down on her as soon as her stern grandmother tells her that she’s there as an employee.
The first two episodes establish the setting, and have every character hurling verbal abuse at Ohana like she murdered a truck full of puppies after robbing the terminal disease ward of her local hospital. However, as time goes on, she adjusts to the rigors of daily waitress life, and has every single character warm up to her and her surprisingly grating attitude.
Hanasaku Iroha is one of those shows that’s good, but has more than enough bad to touch on and bring to light. So it’s not a painful watch, and it’s relatively easy to review from both ends of the spectrum, it’s good fun to write about. Since the negative points are few, but important, I’m going to get the less important good points out of the way to maintain some sense of cohesion.
The first thing anybody will notice about this series is how crisp, smooth, yet natural the animation is. I don’t usually call much attention to animation, but this is seriously one gorgeous show throughout. The settings are vibrant and lively without feeling stilted and artificial, I haven’t seen a single character decay into a deformed blob for the sake of comedy (Except Ohana pouting, but even that had a sort of care about it), and nothing jarred me out of the experience. Of particular mention is the occasional shot of the Kissuiso at dawn or dusk that’s really some of the best use of a color pallet that I’ve seen. Even if the story was complete shit, the characters unlikable and all voiced by Chewbacca, I would still say this was worth a mention on animation/design alone.
Alas, an anime series can’t be propped up by animation alone. There has to be meat underneath the shiny veneer, substance that can really sucker the audience in. While HanaIro isn’t godly in terms of story or character development, it’s more than competent enough to make for an entertaining watch… at least in the second half.
While the first two episodes were marvelous at establishing all the various conflicts at the Kissuiso, it stopped to a grinding halt at Episode 3 onward for the sake of half-baked character subplots. Up until around Episode 11, when Ohana takes a trip back to Tokyo to kidnap her mother and bring her to the inn, the episodes just seemed like an excuse to introduce characters while not showing exactly where they fit into the plot. But then at around the halfway point, a miracle happened, which coincided with Ohana’s mother’s return from Plot Absence Hell—Hanasaku Iroha was good again. For the last half, it went strong until a surprisingly satisfying ending that did its best to wrap things up while not ending things on a definite note.
The characters are, for the most part, fairly well rounded. There are a few who don’t add much of anything, but most contribute to the plot in a significant fashion, and often end up likable despite their hang-ups. Satsuki and Sui, the grandmother, are still the best of the bunch, interacting with calm vitriol that’s difficult to not enjoy watching. Satsuki in particular develops with oddly noticeable subtlety, going from a free spirit who often neglected her daughter for the sake of her dreams, to a slightly less free spirit trying to live peacefully with her resentful daughter. While not many other characters get that level of development, kind of sad considering that Satsuki only had a few episodes of screen time, they’re nothing to decry.
However, one character has been constantly screwed out of anything meaningful, to the point that her existence has become that of an unnecessary counterbalance to the almost whimsical, yet callous Ohana. Minko is a shrill, unlikable, easily irritable bint with a noticeable hard-on for one of the main male characters… that for some reason causes her to shout at Ohana at every given opportunity. While it’s easy to pick up on the jealousy, it’s still a shame to have Minko go from a decent cook with no people skills to a slightly better cook with somehow even worse people skills. There wasn’t an episode where I didn’t want her to be taken out of the show altogether for being a living, breathing irritation.
One last complaint that I have is levied at Ohana’s half-assed relationship with her unknowing main squeeze back home, Ko. The two can just never seem to resolve their feelings for each other, and nothing comes of it at all. It’s a not so small complaint that could’ve been easily solved with a little more emphasis on meaningful interaction instead of having Ohana faffing about in Ko’s presence.
What Hanasaku Iroha succeeds best at is developing a sense of a familial, small inn, always bustling with life. You get a sense that the world could continue on without Ohana in it, but it feels that much richer for having her around. The Kissuiso is a quaint, warm location that sees its fair share of strife along the course of the series. This is what keeps it interesting, as long as it doesn’t descend into the repetitious routine of Minko yelling at Ohana for existing.
As can be gleaned from this, HanaIro isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s riddled with flaws that would keep it from being fantastic, even compared to the throngs of less able anime airing at this time. It’s a gorgeously animated, gorgeously fleshed out feel-good story that has competence enough to engage the audience in small doses. While it isn’t the best show of the year by any means (Though I’m tempted to nominate Satsuki as one of the best characters), I recommend it for anybody searching for something somewhat different and surprisingly tender.
Jun 19, 2012
So the story is like this girls irresponsible mother leaves her with her grandma as she hides from her debts. So Ohana goes to Yoshiblahbla (dont remember) to live with her grandma who runs an inn and she is immediately appointed. Her grandma is a "hard love" type of a character . So the story revolves around this girl making new friends and dealing with the different happenings around the inn.
Th first few episodes of this anime really got me stuck on the screen. I couldn't stop my hands when they clicked the link for the next episode. I generally don't see Slice of Life anime but this one caught my attention. The characters were bright and cheerful , the atmosphere was beautiful and the music was great. It was all going well for Hanasaku Iroha. But this kept me waiting for a grand finale which was rather disappointing. I was expecting something melodramatic or tear jerking end but it was not worth the 26 episode wait. The story is the only aspect of this anime which did not pick up as the numbers of episode did.
The art was Very beautiful. The small village Yoshiblahbla was very beautiful and the bonbori festival looked amazing. Even Tokyo town was depicted beautifully . So nothing wrong here.
The OPs were awesome. Well fitting for a Slice of life anime. Both of them were fantastic and went well along with the story.
The series was quite enjoyable. As i said each episode kept triggering the next one.
The only downside is the lack of a grand finale which would have been the gem on the crown or watever..
In the end , this was quite a good anime which could have become a masterpiece . So from me it gets an 8...
Thanks for reading :) read more
Dec 19, 2012
Words alone can't describe how heart-felt this anime is. As a anime watcher and lover I have seen many animes and there are quite few that make a person cry, this is one of those that have touched my heart. A mix of romance, drama and love of the workplace. The relationship between family and friends at their workplace shows their love and dedication towards their career. They give soo much feeling in what they work so hard for and why they do it. They really show how dedicated you need to be in a workplace of any sorts, as they show you how serious they take their job.
Ohana "main character" is just a sweet, honest, and hardworking girl. She has to tough out the new lifestyle in labor. She soon gets a grip of it as she decides to "rely only on herself". Later into the anime, she begins to love her friends and her workplace/home.
I strongly suggest watching this anime if you are into this kind of anime genre.
I give it a 10/10.
( this is my first review ) read more
Dec 9, 2011
This show really reflects the hard work ethic of Japanese culture, and emphasizes the satisfaction earned through it. The notion of putting others above yourself is a running motif. If anything, you are inspired to work towards something while watching this show. The story and philosophy are nothing new, but that's not the point.
Even if you aren't interested in work, managing time, relationships, and personal growth, watch this show for the art. I found myself so entranced in the backgrounds and scenery at some points that I forgot to pay attention to the characters. You can really tell that a lot of time was devoted to the quality of the backgrounds and animation; even the openings and endings are like this.
This show will make you laugh, sympathize and may even inspire you to get off your butt and do something (at least it did for me ).
Sep 25, 2011
A phenomenal first episode was the basis of a lot of hype, and many people were disappointed when Hanasaku Iroha made it clear it intended to be a slice of life that interspersed drama and comedy rather than anything ambitious.
That is an important note to make- Hanasaku Iroha is not ambitious. You have probably met characters extremely similar to Nako and Minchi before. However, the art is some of the best around, and Hanasaku Iroha succeeds in feeling more grounded in reality than many of its contemporaries.
The show reads as a love letter to manual labour- life in a countryside inn is romanticized in a way that makes it seem like the viewer might very well wish to switch circumstances with the protagonist, before remembering how much work is expected of her.
Hanasaku Iroha's characters feel surprisingly vibrant, and after six months of airing they were all people i'll be sad to see go. The beautiful scenery of Hanasaku Iroha encourages you to love the Kissuisso inn as much as the cast, and it is hard to watch without some attachment to the characters forming.
The show has difficulties finding its niche- it refused to commit to being a drama, an uneventful slice of life, or a comedy. It contains elements of all three, and as a work that doesn't neatly fit a genre has perhaps not had as many fans as it might have.
Hanasaku Iroha should not be missed by anyone interested in its premise, which it executes very well. read more
Sep 25, 2011
Being a slice-of-life, "story" is not what you should be looking for. As you can probably guess, it is largely episodic in nature, occasionally making a situation span for a couple episodes. It doesn't use this very well; at least half the episodes turn out to be useless, forgettable, and full of forced drama with some half-assed comedy. It attempts a "story" in the final few episodes to give the viewer a lasting impression but even that comes off as uninspired and unbelievable (can't say too much because spoilers, though). There isn't much else to say. HanaIro isn't meant to have a compelling storyline but even for a slice-of-life it falls short.
Aesthetically, I was again not pleased with HanaIro. Now I know the Kissuiso (the inn where everything takes place) is portrayed as a normal, almost dying business, but everything about it just looks so...boring. The colors, the decorations, the uniforms, etc. I can't imagine I'd ever want to visit this place, so why should I care about what goes on inside? The animation seems decent enough, but neither did I notice anything particularly amazing about it.
Oh, but there's fanservice! Watch out for it, because it isn't too common. Makes me wonder if the ratings were beginning to drop.
If there's anything I've loved about P.A. Works productions in the past it's that they've always had stellar theme songs. Both the OP and ED from the three series mentioned above have had significant time on my Favorites playlist, and Annabel's My Heaven from Canaan is one of my favorite songs of all time. Again, HanaIro disappoints. I listened to all the theme songs at least once (we get more than just two with this one, being 26 episodes and all), usually twice as I do with every anime, hard as that was with some of them due to a truly irritating voice, and I didn't even consider so much as downloading any of them. So I just end up skipping them. Insert music is just as forgettable considering I can't even conjure up any of it in my head. Voice work is not a whole lot better. I love Kanae Itou so maybe it was just the character, but I often had a hard time hearing Itou's voice on Ohana without wanting to turn the volume down. Most of the voices are just like the art: boring. I'm no judge of Japanese voice acting but I never felt anything special from the actors in this one.
Sadly, I found only two characters in this that I am actually somewhat fond of, and one, Ohana's mother Satsuki, doesn't even show up much. She's the only character in the show that I felt knew what she was doing, except when doing something awful like abandoning her daughter to work for her mother who has since disowned her (don't fear spoilers; that's the premise of the show). The other one was Nako, and I'm fond of her not because I actually find her to be a good character but because she's pretty cute and largely not retarded or annoying. So yeah, I don't even have much good to say about the characters I actually liked. Everyone else...ugh. Ohana is just a peppy idiot who can't even correctly figure out the status of her own relationships, Minko is a snotty brat, and everyone else is too dull and unimportant to even warrant mentioning. They are generally just given a base personality and stick to it with little to no development throughout the series. For a character-based show, that's pretty bad.
All in all, HanaIro mostly felt like a time-killer. It usually wasn't actually hard to watch, it just wasn't fun. It's a generic slice-of-life with little to set it apart from any other and nothing to make it good aside from a few choice moments of random absurdity that serve to give the viewer a quick laugh for how ridiculous it can get, and only then if you don't take it as seriously as it wants you to. It's pretty disappointing when the most memorable and enjoyable moments come down to a couple sub-5 second clips of Ohana being chased by a heron.
A mediocre piece of work from P.A. Works, HanaIro has truly been a disappointing experience. Here's for hoping Winter 2012's Another will restore my faith in them.
P.S. Why the hell is this listed as Seinen on MAL? I'd sooner tag it with Shoujo (this is not intended as an offensive comment to Shoujo fans or the genre, it really just feels more like one). read more